Incremental progress?

So the much-ballyhooed 2022 school board elections are over, and the winners will soon get to place their stamp on their respective districts for the next four years (in most cases.) More to the point of this post, though, it was about this time last year that I wrote the following:

It was a great idea for Patriots for Delaware to take that first step (of endorsing school board candidates), and now they have some inkling what to expect. Hopefully come May of next year, they will be celebrating some initial victories on the road back to sanity for the state of Delaware.

“Disheartening numbers,” May 13, 2021.

As it turned out, the Patriots for Delaware did get a couple victories – but also a couple stinging rebuffs as well.

This cycle was interesting in that the state GOP also got involved by noting which school board candidates were registered Republicans, so to me you had three groups of hopefuls worth watching:

  • Those candidates endorsed by Patriots for Delaware – a total of 11.
  • Those candidates listed as Republican. In contested elections, there were also a total of 11, but there wasn’t as much overlap as one might think.
  • Incumbent candidates. Here in Sussex County there was only one in the five contested school board elections. By my count statewide there were nine, which is surprising given the number of seats available.

While the P4D batted a collective .000 in contested elections last year (their one winner won by acclamation) they improved to 2-for-11 this year by winning contests in Delmar and Milford. However, at the same time they lost two incumbent endorsed candidates in the Colonial and Capital school districts as they were among those seeking re-election who fell short. Basically they lost a little ground in terms of directly endorsed candidates as the winners won in smaller districts.

The Republicans, on the other hand, did a shade better in going 3-for-11, with the caveat that three of their losses came in seeking the same seat in the Smyrna district. (Perhaps they did a good job of splitting the vote for the incumbent, who won.) Out of their two incumbent GOP stalwarts running, the one who had the P4D endorsement lost (Leo Magee in the Colonial district) while the other one who wasn’t so endorsed won (Linda Hitchens, here in Laurel.)

The incumbents were the story to me. Particularly in Sussex County, there were a number of incumbents who chose not to run again – Hitchens was the only one in the five contested Sussex elections. Out of nine incumbents who ran around the state, though, five of them lost at the ballot box, so there was a lot of change made in that respect. Two of the five holdovers who lost, as I noted, got the Patriots for Delaware endorsement so that may have been a step backward, but one of the Republicans knocked off an incumbent in Smyrna so their representation stayed fairly even. (Along with Hitchens, another Republican retained her seat in the Woodbridge district over a P4D-endorsed candidate.)

So where do we go from here?

The one thing that stuck out at me about this race locally was the deluge of signs purchased for (or by) Linda Hitchens. I mean, I tip my hat for making the expenditure because it helped her win, but that expense may have been overkill and now she’s stuck with a garage full of signs for four years. But it led me to learn a little something about Delaware’s campaign finance laws:

Notwithstanding § 8003 of this title, or any other provision of this chapter, a candidate for election to a school board or to any other public office that pays less than $1,000 per year is not required to form a candidate committee if the candidate signs under penalty of perjury a statement, in a form prepared by the Commissioner, certifying that the candidate does not intend or expect that the candidate’s campaign will receive or spend, from the date of the first contribution or expenditure on behalf of the candidate’s election until the end of the year in which the election for the office is held, more than $5,000. If, notwithstanding the execution of the statement, the candidate’s campaign nevertheless receives more than $5,000 in contributions or expends more than $5,000, including any contributions or expenditures by the candidate, before the end of the year in which the election for the office is held, the candidate shall, within 7 days after the receipt or expenditure in excess of $5,000, notify the Commissioner and cause to be filed all reports that would otherwise have been required under this chapter.

Title 15, section 8004, Delaware Code Online.

Basically the candidate signs a form similar to what I called an ALCE when I ran in Maryland, so they don’t have to publicly account for their spending in a small-dollar election. That’s why I don’t find campaign finance information on most school board candidates.

It makes me wonder if conservative groups like Patriots for Delaware should endorse with cash rather than Facebook posts. A $500 donation, good list of supporters – that list of e-mail addresses and social media friends has to be good for something – and a couple volunteers in any school district can litter the place with yard signs that bring name recognition. Moreover, if there’s more name recognition it may be our supporters that fill in the gap between what little turnout there is (in Laurel it was 2.4%, with the biggest downstate total Milford’s 7.84%) and even 10% turnout, which would swamp all the elections. To use Laurel as an example, if they could have brought turnout up to 10 percent strictly with supporters of Joe Kelley, they would have won that race by over 700 votes! Even getting it to 5% turnout with his supporters would have won it.

To use another example, in Seaford, getting out just 1% more turnout with supporters of P4D-endorsed George Del Farno would have taken it for him, as Seaford lagged with abysmal 2% turnout.

Based on the last couple years I had an over/under of 400 votes for Laurel, but for the second straight year we fell short. (In the last three years we have gone from 582 votes in 2020, mostly in person, to 358 last year and just 283 this year. So my wife and I were almost 1% of the electorate, as I talked her into voting. As a reasonably local comparable, Woodbridge went from 282 in 2020 to 722 last year back down to 436 this year. I guess some races are more interesting than others.) Still, it’s worth noting that it’s not just our side trying to ratchet up turnout – supposedly the Democrats were doing their own GOTV drive for school board elections, but I’m not sure that has as much impact down here.

Obviously there’s going to be a lot of emphasis on the legislative races this fall, since everyone in the Delaware General Assembly is on the ballot this year. But the lesson we can learn from the school board race is that our side needs to figure out a way to cut through the noise and turn out voters.

For Laurel Schools 2022

I tried this last year and came close to success for a second time so why not try again?

After a three-year hiatus in the late teens, we in the Laurel School District are now on our third straight year of a contested election for school board. (I guess they wanted me to move into the district first?) Two years ago I voted for Jana Pugh, who won handily over the then-incumbent Brent Nichols only to see Nichols return in 2021 to win an open seat back by seven votes, outlasting Joey Deiter, who I supported.

If I thought Nichols seeking a third term was bad, guess what I get this year? Incumbent Linda Hitchens, the board president, is seeking a third term of her own and as I noted the other day she has signs all around her end of the district. I’d love to know who donated the money for the signage (or if they’re out of her pocket) but there are no financial reports yet for school board candidate committees insofar as I can tell.

One thing I noticed about Hitchens and her platform was an insinuation in an interview with the Laurel Star newspaper that she wanted to “help to rebuild what we had prior to the pandemic.” I’ll grant that some things were lost because the state closed schools (unnecessarily) but shouldn’t most of that rebuilding already be done? We’re through a full year of in-person classes now. (Those who went to private schools were back even sooner, and it appears from my limited experience with our church school and teachers therein that those students are pretty much caught up.) Add that to my experience in Maryland where school board members we appointed were term-limited to two five-year terms, which assured that new ideas would be tried, and to me our election would come down to either staying home or voting for her opponent, who got off to a slow start with me.

So I’m not the most enthusiastic backer of Joe Kelley, who’s obviously isn’t a politician based on how he’s run his campaign. However, the one claim to fame he has is a system that’s been tried for awhile in Arizona (and probably a few other areas) called Move On When Ready. As I read it, kids aren’t necessarily assigned to grade but work toward subject mastery, as in this example from an Arizona school system. I don’t think this is the be-all and end-all, but putting Kelley on the board brings a new perspective and idea to what seems to be a moribund school district.

One thing Kelley did get was the Patriots for Delaware endorsement; however, I don’t know if they liked his answers to their survey questions or if he was the only one of the two to respond. Unlike last year, the Democratic Socialists have something better to do than “recommend” school board candidates, nor could I find an endorsement list from the teachers’ union. (The Democrats will be doing a GOTV effort this weekend, but they’re close to the vest on who they’ll back.) But I did find a list of candidates from the Republican Party – not necessarily endorsed, but presumably registered Republican. (Among them is Linda Hitchens.)

What’s interesting to me is that the GOP and Patriots for Delaware are at odds on not just the Laurel race, but also in Delmar where Dawn Adkins Litchford is the P4D choice but Lauren Hudson is the Republican, and Woodbridge where the Republican is Rita Hovermale but the P4D backs Corey Grammer. They both agree in Seaford on George Del Farno, though. Out of 11 selected by Patriots for Delaware, only five are listed as Republicans, and one has been outed as a Libertarian.

But if you’re in the Laurel School District, don’t be afraid to vote like I will for Joe Kelley. While I think Linda Hitchens for her decade of service, it’s time for some fresh ideas.

The trouble with populism

Anyone who has read here over the last 16 years or so can guess that, most of the time, I vote for the Republican candidate in a electoral race. But there have been exceptions over the years, especially when I have a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate I like better, and 2020 was one of them.

When I endorsed for Delaware’s U.S. Senate race 18 months ago, I noted:

(Lauren Witzke) would be an almost automatic choice except for two places I vehemently disagree with her: one being the idea of incentivizing marriage and family through government policy (as opposed to that of merely not penalizing it) and the other being her stance against right-to-work as some sort of appeal to Big Labor voters – never mind that jobs tend to accrue to right-to-work states when all other conditions are substantially equal. Those are two big strikes against her, and her reaction to RBG’s death was very nearly strike three – somehow she managed to foul it off and stay alive.

“For Delaware 2020,” monoblogue, October 25, 2020.

Thanks to the Libertarians running a right-leaning candidate I voted for Nadine Frost instead, and it turned out I didn’t cost Lauren the race by doing so; in fact, she trailed all four other GOP statewide candidates and I don’t think it was because Chris Coons is all that popular.

The allusion to RBG upon her passing was really controversial, but in looking that gem up I found this quote from Witzke:

“Well the truth of the matter is that the Delaware GOP keeps losing and they think they can beat the liberals by becoming more liberal and that’s not gonna be the case, this is war.”

Roman Battaglia, Delaware Public Media, “GOP Senate candidate retains party backing, despite condemnation of social media posts,” September 21, 2020. Quoting Lauren Witzke.

Perhaps it’s a good thing Witzke hasn’t thrown her hat into the House race (since there’s no Senate race this year) because then how do you explain “becoming more liberal” with this social media complaint?

In full support of Student Loan Forgiveness:

Having crippling student loan debt makes it as difficult as possible for young people to buy a home, get married, and have children. An entire generation has become a slave to debt, signing their lives away at 18-not knowing that the US Government would import the third world to compete with them and push wages down in the workforce.

If the GOP was really the “party of the working-class” they would get behind this and get this done, in addition to seizing college endowments to prevent it from happening again.

Lauren Witzke, Social media post, April 28, 2022.

Never mind she got slaughtered in the comments, I have to say my piece too.

There’s a difference between conservatism and populism. One big worry I had about a Trump presidency early on was that the GOP would be pushed in a more populist direction, but he generally managed to straddle the line well and didn’t let his populist side out too much.

But in Trump’s term, he made two moves toward canceling student loans: in September 2019, before the CCP virus struck us, he signed an executive order that canceled student loan debt for permanently disabled veterans, which he estimated would save veterans “hundreds of millions” of dollars. And of course, during the pandemic Trump began the process of pausing student loan payments and interest that Joe Biden has continued, saving an estimated $90 billion for borrowers.

A pause of payments and interest, though, is a lot different than wiping out their student loan debt. And it wouldn’t necessarily help the working class, according to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy. Bear in mind that graduate degree holders – who don’t tend to be working-class – hold 56% of the outstanding student loan debt, so they would benefit the most from forgiveness.

It was a long, long time ago but I was one of those who took out student loans to go to college and I remember handing Sallie Mae about $120 or so a month beginning six months after graduation. I’m not going to say it was easy or that I always paid them on time, because student loans are a little like medical bills: hard to collect because you’re not taking away the ER visit for the flu, the knee replacement, or the bachelor’s degree if the payments are late like you can for a car or a house. But, over the span of fifteen years and a couple forbearances and refinances, I got my student loans paid off. Even as liberal as we considered Bill Clinton to be back in that era of my student loans, the idea of forgiving them for the masses was not seriously considered.

Aside from the giant issue with seizing college endowments – don’t you love it when government confiscates private property? – there are three huge problems with what Witzke and much of the other regressive community is backing.

First off, I’m still looking for the place where it says our federal government should have a role in education like this. One thing that disappointed me in the otherwise relatively stellar Reagan legacy is that he couldn’t convince the public to warn Congress that the Department of Education was really unnecessary, and maybe they need to think about defunding it if they wanted to stay in Congress. Reagan was a “Great Communicator,” but not so much a lobbyist for creating a public outcry for ridding us of an unnecessary Cabinet post. More recently I was hoping Betsy DeVos would help that process along, but, alas, Donald Trump couldn’t compete with the votes purchased with Zuckbucks and…well, you know what happened. Then again, you read what Trump did with student loans in the grafs above so I don’t believe he was really down with the struggle, either.

Secondly, it further erodes the idea of commitment. We already have issues with the concept when it comes to marriage and relationships in a culture where celebrities seem to be having a contest as to who can have the highest number of marriages and divorces and the most kids out of wedlock, with our society either cheering them on (as in “you do you”) or just turning a blind eye. This is how our culture has devolved since the era of our grandparents; an era which Witzke seems to want to restore – she uses the policies of the nation of Hungary as an example* – but this time through generous government subsidies that our ancestors didn’t need and, out of pride, would have likely refused anyway. Having the government step in and say, “yeah, we’ll pay off the student loans you took out for your womyn’s studies degree” just feeds the entitlement society we’ve become. Student loans, then, go from a hand up to just another handout.

Finally, on the college front, the biggest part of the reason those ivory towers have become so fat and happy financially these days – with those endowments that Witzke covets for government seizure in the millions or even billions of dollars – is that they have raised tuition and fees with impunity knowing that the government makes student loans widely available for any warm body they accept. Students don’t even have to get a degree, but the college gets paid for spouting off whatever the woke flavor of the day is and now the taxpayers will be footing the bill. If it were the colleges having to come up with the coin for the failures of their students, you better believe they would be more prudent and careful with who they let in and what is taught, don’cha think? It may make ditchdiggers out of all those “diversity, equity, and inclusion” department hires but the world needs honest labor, too.

There’s been a political cartoon turned meme making the rounds for awhile that makes the point more succinctly than I did, but I’ll go with a paraphrase: You took out a student loan, pay it back. I didn’t say it was easy or without sacrifice, but honor a commitment for once.

(*) I will give Lauren credit in that she writes well in an Ann Coulter vein. But I still disagree with her on this student loan thing.

Odds and ends number 110

Yes, the mailboxes need pruning again. As I noted in my previous post, sometimes I will promote posts that deserve a full retelling, but that’s not to say these dribs and drabs of bloggy goodness aren’t important – just not quite deserving of a full post.

Time for a victory garden, and more

A few weeks back I discussed the return of a local blogger who can now be found on Substack. Another resource that can be found there is AND Magazine, which was its own website but has moved on to a two-tier subscription-based approach. (I get the free stuff, and that’s plenty. But if you’re really into it, they have “exclusive content” for paying subscribers, too.)

I like the resource since it has more of a foreign policy interest than most conservative news sources – for example, who else talks about the alliance between Iran and China? – so my interest was piqued more than usual with two recent posts.

The first dealt with a shortage we haven’t heard much discussion about: what happens if we don’t have fertilizer?

Global fertilizer prices have tripled under Biden. That doesn’t just mean that food costs will rise. It means in many places farmers will not be able to afford to buy fertilizer. They will grow crops without fertilizing them. The yield from those crops will be a fraction of what they would be if they were fertilized.

Sam Faddis, “Time For A Victory Garden – Joe Broke The Economy Too,” AND Magazine, March 9, 2022.

Maybe it’s just something I’ve noticed this year, but it seems to me that more farmers here in Delaware are using our abundant natural resource of chicken manure. I have a saying I bust out in the late winter and early spring, “Smells like Delaware.” It’s the odor of chicken poop, but the farmers obviously love it.

But that brings up a point that Maryland farmers are regulated in how much they can use because they have to closely monitor phosphorous levels in the soil thanks to Larry Hogan starting out well but caving to the environmentalist wackos at the start of his first term. (However, in re-reading these 2015 posts, maybe Maryland farmers got a reprieve this year, just at the right time. But I doubt it since we’re talking seven years ago and the prospects for relief seldom last that long.) I don’t see those familiar mounds on Maryland farms and I wonder how they will be affected.

Anyway, perhaps the chicken industry is saving us again. But the other article notes that we may not be salvagable with regard to rare earths. As Faddis noted last week:

If you don’t have rare earth minerals, you don’t have a “green” economy. Your new Tesla does not go very far without a battery in it, and that battery can’t be made without rare earth minerals.

The reserves of rare earth minerals are scattered all over the world. Forty percent of those reserves are in China. China’s control over rare earth minerals is much greater than that figure would suggest, however. Over 70% of the actual rare earth mineral production is in China. China’s control over the actual processing of rare earth minerals is even greater than that. Fully 90% of all rare earth minerals are actually processed in China.

Sam Faddis, “If You Liked Being Dependent On Middle East Oil You Will Love Being Owned By China,” AND Magazine, March 11, 2022.

Knowing our luck, Delaware is sitting on top of a mountain of rare earth materials but the people in charge will say, “oh, you can’t dig them up.” That’s how it seems to work for oil. But don’t you think we should spend some of this government largesse seeing what we do have?

Updating my party

Since I haven’t seen fit to change my voter registration – even though I already have one interesting contested Republican race in Delaware – news from the Constitution Party still interests me.

One piece is from the state of Wyoming, where the Republicans may not be the only ones with primary fun. There are rumblings that two candidates may seek the CP ballot slot for Congress, and even though one is a former Republican who left that race and perhaps sees this as an easier way to be on the ballot, that’s how the party grows.

The other details their national convention, which will be held in, of all places, Erie, Pennsylvania. Nothing against Erie, a town which I have passed by a couple times on I-90 and which houses the AA affiliate of my Detroit Tigers, but I guess you can tell the new party chair is from Pennsylvania. And it’s at a local “freedom loving” church, which I’m sure will set off the local “separation of church and state” mafia. Which leads to my next question: when is the Delaware CP convention? Job one for them is to get some of these other conservative parties to join us so we get ballot access, too.

Speaking of churches, here is something from iVoterGuide which may be of interest. In 2025, with a Republican president and Congress, it will be high time to repeal the Johnson Amendment.

Energy boondoggles, followed up

You know how I feel about the Green Raw Deal, so when I get news from the Caesar Rodney Institute that highlights some of the foibles of our government’s headlong rush to environmental insanity I’m going to share it.

One part noted, “The Biden Administration has created a new federal agency to spend infrastructure funds for full battery electric vehicle charging stations. The Joint Office of Energy & Transportation will spend $2.5 billion in federal funds to place EV chargers in poor neighborhoods.”

It made me wonder where my closest charger is, and according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center I would have to travel to Galestown, Maryland. If you have ever been to Galestown you know it’s a speck on the map, but it has a town hall and someone had the brilliant idea to put a charger there. Wonder if the mayor (or the town) got an electric car so someone uses the thing?

The other talks about PJM, which is a major electric grid operator. They seem to have a problem: “The nation’s largest electric grid operator, PJM Interconnection, is so clogged with requests from energy developers that want to connect to its regional transmission network in the eastern United States that it is planning a two-year pause on reviewing more than 1,200 energy projects, most of them solar power.”

Solar power plays havoc with an electricity grid because it’s simply not reliable. Imagine a humid summer day in Delaware: most of your solar panels are getting sunshine and adding to the grid, but then some of those pop-up thunderstorms pop up and suddenly there’s no sun in that area. What does a grid operator do to meet the demand but go to the backup natural gas system that has to be kept around for redundancy’s sake? Just skip the middleman.

And then you have this absurdity from our governor, as if new cars weren’t already expensive enough. “The (new) regulations mandate that a certain percentage of the vehicles delivered for sale in a state are (zero-emission) vehicles. Manufacturers receive credits for each delivered vehicle based on the type of vehicle, range and other factors. Each year, manufacturers must meet a ZEV credit amount that is based on average annual sales. In states already in the program, the automobile industry has successfully met the required percentage.

This sounds a lot like the RGGI scam that Delaware utility ratepayers are already saddled with. If they don’t sell enough of these cars, the manufacturers have to pay the state of Delaware. Problem is, we don’t want them because I have no desire to pay a couple grand for upgrading my home electrical system or shuffle off to Galestown to charge my car for x number of minutes to go anywhere.

A new link and leader

I wasn’t really intending to be so CRI-heavy on this one, but the name I saw rang a bell.

If you remember on Friday I discussed the Delaware school board races. One of those who ran upstate in the crazy election of 2021 was a lady by the name of Dr. Tanya Hettler, who lost her bid for a seat in the Brandywine school district way up in the northeast corner of the state, almost completely geographically opposite from where I live.

So she didn’t run this year, but she has a new gig:

I have spent the last three years writing for my blog “Deep Thoughts with Dr. Tanya,” focusing on counseling, family, and parenting issues. Over the last year, I have increased my focus on education issues due to running for the local school board. Through this experience, my eyes have been further opened to the many needs in education in Delaware, and I have been writing to inform our citizens of these problems and their potential solutions.

I am very excited to join the team at the CRI…as the director of the Center for Education Excellence and continue my work.

Dr. Tanya Hettler, March 1, 2022.

I just permalinked to her blog the other day since it seems like she has her head screwed on straight. (Interestingly enough, she’s also involved in the Convention of States movement I recently began to follow.) But as CRI describes her job, “As director, Dr. Hettler will lead policy research efforts for an important and much-needed overhaul of Delaware’s K-12 public education system that has consistently failed students over the past 15 years.”

Lady, let me give you a clue on what’s needed: it’s called “money follows the child.” They don’t need an overhaul of the system as much as they just need to start back over and let parents decide what to do with that education money. It may be enough to convince a faithful working mom to homeschool or give a boost to Christian schools that take Proverbs 22:6 seriously.

Once again, the e-mail box is cleaned out and now I can get on to other fun stuff.

A more surgical approach

Remember how much hype we had over school board elections last fall?

It appears Delaware was at the crest of that wave last spring when school boards around the state had three- or even four-person elections for the handful of seats which were available. Despite all the hullabaloo nationally over school elections, though, things have calmed down in Delaware this time around: of the sixteen districts with elections this time, just two (Red Clay and Smyrna) have a four-person race, while four (Colonial, Lake Forest, Milford, and Smyrna again) have three-way contests. (The larger of the two Smyrna races is for the last two years of an unexpired term.)

On the other hand, there are only five walkover races where an election won’t be necessary: the folks in Brandywine, Cape Henlopen, Christina, and portions of Indian River and Milford had only enough candidates file to match the number of available seats.

Here in Sussex County, we can eliminate most of our friends on the coastal side of the county from the excitement since Cape Henlopen and Indian River have no contested races. We’ll begin with Milford, where incumbent Scott L. Fitzgerald got the free pass but three people are running for an open seat. It appears all three seeking the at-large spot are first-time candidates, so the board will welcome the winner between Matthew Bucher, Samuel Millman, or Jalyn Powell. (Since part of the Milford district is in Kent County, the winner may not hail from Sussex.)

Now I’ll shift across to Woodbridge, which is also a shared district with Kent County and one which will also feature an open seat. This time only two newcomers are seeking it as voters will select from either Corey Grammer or Rita Hovermale.

Rolling down the Delmarva Central tracks, we’ll stop in Seaford where the three-year hiatus between school board elections will come to an end this year with George W. Del Farno taking on Marcus Wright in May. Both are making their first runs, too. (So far all but one of the incumbents have taken a pass on another term.)

Because I like to save the best for last, I’m going to first skip down to Delmar and look at that two-person race pitting Dawn Adkins Litchford against Lauren Hudson. Again, two first-time candidates because the incumbent is leaving.

So that leaves my district, Laurel. We started out with a four-person race last year that featured three newcomers and a former member who lost in 2020. One of the three neophytes dropped out, but in the end the former member won by just seven votes in a three-way race.

Unlike almost all of the other Sussex races, we have the incumbent running for another term – and this is the only contest. Linda Hitchens is the incumbent facing challenger Joe Kelley, and one thing I have noticed about Hitchens is that her cycle hasn’t had an election dating back to at least 2007 – there was no election in 2012 or 2017, meaning she’s been elected at least once via acclamation. (I’m betting she’s at least a two-termer – I know someone who could correct me if I’m wrong.)

Thus, our little district is going to be the test case as to whether those who decided to wrap things up in the face of an anti-incumbent mood were right or whether Laurel’s happy with keeping Linda around.

Thoughts on the offyear Tuesday

Back in the summer, there was this political race going on. Everyone thought the guy who had been in office for four years and hand-picked his successor after that was going to cruise to victory, since we had just elected a still-popular President with whom he shared a party affiliation.

But sometime around Labor Day, the shine began to come off that President thanks to some REALLY bad decisions he made. Meanwhile, the school year began and there were a lot of parents who saw what their kids were being exposed to in school and that they had to wear face diapers, and they didn’t like it one bit. So they began coming to school board meetings only to get resistance from the status quo in the school boards.

Then came the debate, the one where this supposed shoo-in told parents it wasn’t their job to chime in on what their children were taught. Proving how out of touch he really was, this candidate brought in surrogates from all over the country to campaign for him, including that unpopular President. And the opponent? He took the parents’ side, and made it his mission to tell them so by traveling all over the state to meet with them in person. Like a certain President’s ice cream cone left out in the sun, Terry McAuliffe’s polling lead melted away and Wednesday morning Virginians were officially told there would be a Republican governor come January once McAuliffe conceded.

And talk about coattails! Not only did Glenn Youngkin win his race in what would have been considered a stunning upset even a month ago, he brought along his party’s lieutenant governor and Attorney General candidates as well as enough House of Delegates members to flip control of the body back to the GOP.

All over the country, it seemed like the GOP was ascendant. They came close to winning the New Jersey governor’s race, in a contest they were predicted to lose by double-digits. Down the ballot, a three-time candidate who reportedly spent $150 on his campaign (not counting slate money, which bumped it up to about $2,000) knocked off their Senate President, a longtime machine Democrat. Even better, it was a tough day for so-called progressives, who saw their candidates and causes shot down all over.

There is such a thing as overreach in politics. Overall, we are still a center-right country and the far left hasn’t quite sold us on their snake oil yet. They’re working on it with the youth but the occupant of the White House is the conservative’s best salesman. It doesn’t, however, guarantee success in beating them back next year.

And if I wanted depressing results, I only had to turn to my old hometown. As they circle the drain, they elect the same old morons and vote to raise their own taxes then wonder why they don’t succeed – unless success is considered making everyone dependent on a failing city government. Even their suburbs aren’t immune, as a good friend of mine lost his re-election bid to their town council. Now those are some voters who voted against their best interests.

So, with these results in hand, we now begin the 2022 campaign in earnest. Those of us in Delaware will have a quick detour in the spring to determine school boards (now those should be interesting campaigns) but the real action will come next fall as all 62 seats in our General Assembly will be up for grabs with spanking new districts. (Mine will be the same old ones, though.) We also elect our treasurer and attorney general, a race which already has some interest. In the next few days these races will begin to populate as the new districts become official – I think that’s why we don’t have a candidate list yet.

An upcoming discussion on Critical Race Theory

First of all, my post isn’t really intended to be the discussion, although it may end up being so. I’m just passing the word along!

Anyway, every so often I get something of great interest from my longtime fan and friend Melody Clarke (back in her local radio and officeseeking days she was known as Melody Scalley, so Melody’s name may ring a bell with longtime readers – and the pun wasn’t intended.) Melody has been with the Heritage Foundation for awhile now as a Regional Coordinator, and her region includes ours.

In this case, she is announcing that the Heritage Foundation is putting together an intriguing panel event to be held right here locally in at the Crossroad Community Church just west of Georgetown (it’s right off Route 404.) I’m going to let her announcement take over from here before I jump back in:

Please plan to join us for a special event about critical race theory. This will be a panel discussion giving you the opportunity to hear from individuals with special knowledge across a broad spectrum on this issue. We hope you will attend in person, but there will also be an opportunity to join the event by livestream. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask panel members your questions about critical race theory. We want you to fully understand this ideology and the damaging impact it is having across all aspects of our culture and American way of life.

What is Critical Race Theory?

When: Thurs. July 29, 2021 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Where: Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Rd, Georgetown, DE 19947

Panel Discussion: Hear from dynamic speakers on the roots of critical race theory and how to identify it, as well as how it is infiltrating our schools, workplaces, and the military. Panelists will also be equipping attendees with action items for what you can do to stop it from dividing our children, families and nation.

Panel Moderator: Melody Clarke, Sr. Regional Coordinator, Heritage Action

Mike Gonzalez, Senior Fellow, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy and Angeles T. Arredondo E Pluribus Unum Fellow at the Heritage Foundation

Xi Van Fleet, A Chinese immigrant who has never before been involved politically. Compelled by her own experience in the Chinese Cultural Revolution, she has committed herself to warn the American people of the danger of Cultural Marxism and to help them to clearly see what is really happening in America.

Jonathan Butcher, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Heritage Foundation.

Shawntel Cooper, Parent, Fight for Schools, Loving, dedicated wife, mother, (mommabear), who doesn’t conform to the popular opinion just because it’s the popular opinion.

Joe Mobley, Parent, Fight for Schools. He is host of the Joe Mobley Show and a disabled US Army veteran. Joe’s experience is exceptionally diverse and includes time in the military, law enforcement, church staff, and as a professional musician. He currently consults with one of the world’s largest and most influential firms.

Jeremy C. Hunt, writer, commentator and current student at Yale Law School. After graduating from West Point, he served on active duty as a U.S. Army Captain. Jeremy appears regularly on Fox News.

Stephanie Holmes, an experienced labor and employment professional and lawyer. Her legal career started at a large, international law firm where she represented employers in a wide variety of labor and employment matters, ranging from single plaintiff to complex class action cases. She then worked as in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 company.

Heritage Foundation announcement of the event.

This definitely sounds like it’s worth my time, and as an added bonus for me the Shorebirds are on the road that night so I’m not missing a home game!

CRT, and its cousin Action Civics, are topics I’ve visited recently on The Patriot Post, and – let’s channel Captain Obvious here – these are contentious subjects. Parents who oppose CRT in Delaware already have to gear up for a fight in their local districts, which will be mandated by the state in 2022-23 to teach public and charter school students about black history. And schools won’t necessarily be able to select criteria parents may deem appropriate, to wit:

The Department of Education shall develop and make publicly available a list of resources to assist a school district or charter school in creating Black History curricula. The Department shall consult with organizations that provide education about the experiences of Black people, or seek to promote racial empowerment and social justice.

House Bill 198 as passed, Delaware General Assembly, 151st Session.

Among these organizations being consulted are the NAACP, Africana Studies programs at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University (as well as their respective Black Student Coalitions), the Delaware Heritage Commission, and the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League. I would hazard to guess this will be a stacked deck in favor of emphasizing “restorative justice.”

It’s also worth pointing out that we have racists in our midst – well, at least that’s what they will be called by the other side because they properly voted against this mess. In the House that list includes Representatives Rich Collins, Tim Dukes, Ronald Gray, Shannon Morris, Charles Postles, Jesse Vanderwende, and Lyndon Yearick, and among Senators the five were Gerald Hocker, Dave Lawson, Brian Pettyjohn, Bryant Richardson, and Dave Wilson. So the concerned parents do have allies.

Having said that, I think there’s certainly a place for black history in the schools – however, it should be taught from the perspective that it’s our shared history, whether black, white, brown, yellow, or red. When it comes to blacks, we are a nation which has evolved from keeping blacks in slavery and treating them as three-fifths of a person (who couldn’t vote anyway) to having blacks in all walks of life, including the offspring of black fathers elected as President and as Vice President within the last 15 years with the support of millions of black voters. (Not to mention numerous other elected and unelected government officials, sports figures, and CEOs of major corporations.) I’m not going to lie to you and say it was an easy or straight path toward a colorblind society, but I would argue that, until we made a big deal of race in the last decade or so, we were raising the most colorblind generation that we had known in the Millennials – unfortunately, Generation Z has the serious potential to backslide in that regard thanks to misplaced white guilt, due in no small part to the effects this “1619 Project” style of teaching history have already had on us regarding events which occurred over a century ago.

Acknowledging that history and attempting to learn lessons from it is one thing, but believing that past discrimination justifies future discrimination is quite another, and it’s wrong. I encourage my readers to attend this seminar if they can, or just watch it to see what the race hustlers are up to now.

Disheartening numbers

No one ever said change would be easy. But the prospects for school reform in Delaware took a step backward in several districts.

You may recall a post or two ago I talked about dueling endorsements from the Patriots for Delaware (P4D) and the Democratic Socialists of America Delaware chapter (DSA), although the latter only implied their list was one of preference rather than endorsement given the “right-wing” nature of Patriots for Delaware. And by the time the smoke cleared on Tuesday night, it was apparent that the upstart Patriots group has some work to do.

Out of five (there was a late add in Smyrna) candidates that P4D endorsed, all five (including one incumbent) lost. The percentages varied from 20.58% for the Patriot-backed candidate in the Red Clay district to a close 47.92% from the incumbent who lost in Woodbridge. Even more infuriating, though, was that the quintet all lost to candidates preferred by the DSA. (In three of the races, it was obvious since there were only two running.)

But while the DSA could be happy that they knocked off all five P4D candidates, the other five they backed only went 1-for-5, including a big defeat here in my Laurel district. If anything, however, Ivy Bonk probably handed victory to the retread who was trying to get back in after losing last year because she split the opposition vote, meaning Joey Deiter fell seven votes short, 147 to 140. Bonk had 71, so it’s no stretch to figure most of those would have voted for Deiter if it were a two-person race.

So now that Patriots for Delaware has been through a race cycle, they have some lessons to learn. For one thing, candidate recruitment begins now. We know that pretty much every school district in Delaware will have a school board election next year, so there should be an effort to find someone in every district who can be trusted and won’t need vetting. (And some advice for those considering it: start culling anything remotely objectionable from your social media accounts.) We know those who purport to be “investigative” journalists tend to point their magnifying glass only one way, so be cognizant of that fact.

The second part is trying to figure out a way to seize the narrative. The key issues this time around were reopening schools after the pandemic and the battle against Critical Race Theory getting a foothold in the schools. Meanwhile, other kids in parochial schools have been in class all year and are being taught a proper appreciation for both history and one another. Find the success stories: good kids who go to these alternative schools (or are homeschooled) and hold them up as ideals when compared to public school kids. And ask the questions: why can’t public school kids measure up, and how are those on the school boards going to address the problem? (Hint: it ain’t more money.)

I know that P4D is trying to get people interested in taking the time to attend their local school board meetings, and that’s a good idea, too. If a rogue board knows there is public scrutiny, they may think twice about taking objectionable steps. Our side pays taxes, too – in fact, we may pay more than the other side does.

It was a great idea for Patriots for Delaware to take that first step, and now they have some inkling what to expect. Hopefully come May of next year, they will be celebrating some initial victories on the road back to sanity for the state of Delaware.

Odds and ends number 103

The e-mail box is filling up fast these days, so after just a month I felt the need to relieve some of that pressure, as it were. Plus I just felt like writing something over the weekend (how’s that for honesty?)

As I have said probably 100 times or so in the past, these are dollops of bloggy goodness which aren’t promoted to a post but deserve some sort of mention, whether a few sentences or a handful of paragraphs.

The protectionist racket

I’ve referred to this man and group many times in the past, but the Alliance for American Manufacturing and their president Scott Paul are nothing if not consistent. After the February job numbers came out, Paul had this to say:

It’s good to see factory job growth resume after January’s slump, but the pace must pick up. At this rate, recovering all the manufacturing jobs lost during the pandemic will take more than two years.

That’s why it is so important for Congress and the Biden administration to speedily complete the short-term COVID-19 rescue package, and then shift to work on a sustained, robust public investment in infrastructure, clean energy, and innovation.

One thing to point out here: January goods imports were the highest on record. Made in America procurement efforts and the rebuilding of domestic supply chains couldn’t come at a better time.

Alliance for American Manufacturing press release, March 5, 2021.

I always appreciate their perspective; Lord knows their hearts are in the right place. But what has always concerned me about the AAM’s steadfast support of protectionism is what I call the Trabant effect, named after the East German car that vanished once the Berlin Wall came down and former denizens of that communist regime could buy other cars that were thirty years more advanced.

I believe we have better workers than China could ever have, although it’s worth noting that China didn’t start eating our lunch until they adopted a hybrid mix of totalitarian government with just enough capitalism to keep people from starving. There are certainly some in the wealthy category in China, but they aren’t self-made – they have to have some connection to the ruling party in order to succeed.

Even without taxpayer “investment” in infrastructure we have enough of a market to create massive wealth, if the government would just get out of the way. That’s where I often part with the AAM, which is an extension of several steelworker unions.

Illustrating absurdity

We all know that Joe Biden has made a mockery of a situation that President Trump was quickly gaining control of: border security and illegal immigration. But when you see things in graphic form, as the Heritage Foundation has put together, the changes are brought into perspective.

It’s sad that, out of 22 policy areas the Heritage Foundation has identified, that Biden and his cronies have made changes to all but two, taking us in the wrong direction. Once upon a time America was supposed to have 11 million illegal immigrants, but I would posit that number is twice that now and may be triple or quadruple that by the time Biden is through.

The problem with strategists

I’ve liked Bobby Jindal for a long time, but I think he has a poor choice in writing partners sometimes.

Perhaps I should have had a clue when the piece appeared in Newsweek, which isn’t exactly a conservative publication, but he and a “Republican strategist” by the name of Alex Castellanos opined there on “Separating Trump from Trumpism.” I had not heard of the latter previously, so when it was noted in the bio that he had worked on four different Presidential campaigns, I was curious to know which four – turns out he was busy for awhile since the list was Bob Dole, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and Jeb! Bush. So we’re basically talking a classic #NeverTrump personality here along with a guy whose behind was kicked by The Donald in the 2016 campaign.

I sort of gleaned the direction they were heading when they warned, “Unless the GOP creates an alternative version of Trumpism, without Trump, he’ll be back.” However, there is a little wheat among the chaff here:

Republicans must jettison Trump’s demeanor, but pick up where Trump’s policies left off. They should fight the concentration of political and economic power that has benefitted technology and financial giants, gather allies to force China to compete economically on a level playing field and reshape the government’s spending, immigration, trade and tax policies to benefit the working class. They can show how an open economy, bottom-up growth and limited government can empower and enrich working-class Americans more than any old, top-down, artificial program. These policies will benefit working-class and all Americans willing to invest their labor and talents towards living even bigger American dreams.

Bobby Jindal and Alex Castellanos, “Separating Trump from Trumpism is Key to the GOP’s Future,” Newsweek, March 1, 2021.

There was a lot about Trumpism that I liked, including the unvarnished patriotism, the willingness to be pro-life, and the complete honesty in dealing with the elites and media. Those of us in the heartland didn’t like either of those groups, but we weren’t seeing any push back from the GOP despite its goading by the TEA Party, among others. It almost makes you wonder who wanted him out more – the Democrats or the elites who still count themselves Republicans in the same vein as Dole, the Bushes, and Mitt Romney.

Stick to writing your own stuff, Bobby – that is, if you want to keep the little bit of relevancy you have. You have the lanes figured out correctly, although in this case I hope you eventually choose the right path.

Although, on second thought, since you’re now pushing for a huge federal infrastructure bill like Joe Biden is, maybe it’s too late.

Placating Woke-O Haram

To Erick Erickson, there is a new religion:

Secularism is, in fact, a religion.  It has sacraments like support for abortion rights.  It has tithing in which secular adherents give money to various political and social causes.  It has liturgies in the new speak of wokeness.  It has theological tracts and church services as rally and protest and Episcopal mass.  It has even spurred the rise of terrorist zealots and the new censorious social justice warriors I have taken to calling Woke-O Haram.

Erick Erickson, “Secular Indulgences,” March 11, 2021.

The initial comparison Erickson makes is the Catholic Church at the time of Martin Luther, which is somewhat appropriate. But the indulgences once sold to pay for St. Peter’s Basilica are now being extorted from businesses in a perverse form of wealth redistribution from industrialized nations to those on the other end of the scale – that is, whatever’s left after those in charge of the redistribution take their cut.

And the funny thing about this whole climate change enigma is that there is no control mechanism. We cannot predict with certainty how the weather will be a month out, so who can believe that doing whatever job-killing, income-robbing scheme Radical Green dreams up will make a significant dent? And when it falls short of predictions – as it always does – then the problem will be that we didn’t do enough, not that the whole idea we could have an effect was bullshit from the start.

It’s like the cynical philosophy I’ve come to embrace in my adult life: government is not in the business of solving problems, for if the solutions they came up with worked, there wouldn’t be a need for them. For government, job preservation is the true Job One. Believers in Radical Green are the same way, so they come up with wilder schemes and excuses to justify their beliefs.

The national impact races

Had I thought more about the post I did on the Laurel school board election, I would have quoted an e-mail I received from iVoter Guide:

Many of the problems that threaten our nation today can be traced to years of misplaced priorities in our public schools. Our children are not learning how to become citizens who appreciate, defend, and cultivate the values and principles our nation was founded upon. This responsibility and power rests with our school boards—positions largely overlooked by the general public, but captured by Leftist organizations and special interest groups who have exercised their influence over our children for far too long.

The good news is, with relatively few votes compared to higher office elections, the trajectory of our school boards and the nation can start to change when principled candidates are elected. This is why iVoterGuide is launching a trial program to equip Christian and conservative voters to engage in these high-impact elections. (Link in original.)

Debbie Wuthnow, “From the Classroom to Congress: Your Schools Matter,” iVoterGuide e-mail, March 4, 2021.

In this case, they are doing a test run of 20 Texas school districts to see how well their voter information program translates to that level. Yet, bringing it back to my school district as an example, it’s hard to find much on these races because the participants (particularly the incumbents) know the race is more on name recognition and who you know rather than on particular issues the schools are dealing with. Most of what information I found the last time I went through this a year ago came from a lengthy profile on the race in the Laurel Star newspaper.

Common sense and sunshine in Delaware?

I suspect he’s lining himself up for bigger things down the road, and he’s not even my representative, but State Rep. Bryan Shupe has a good idea.

HCR10 would require the Delaware General Assembly to stream and videotape proceedings, to include committee meetings. That’s important because those meetings are where the sausage is ground – legislation is generally massaged at the committee level and the horsetrading to get things passed should be a matter of public record.

The fact that the bill has a “modest” amount of co-sponsors, however, tells me the state’s legislative body would rather keep things behind closed doors. (In reality, the bill has five Senate sponsors and co-sponsors along with 11 from the House. Among the group, three are Democrats and the rest Republican.)

I get that the behavior may change because legislators may play more to the camera, but subsequent elections can correct that problem. We should have more transparency in the First State, not less.

One final Palm Sunday item

My original story for this last slot was Delaware-related, but I decided to promote it to a full piece. Instead, as our church was retold today, Jesus had a tough week beginning on the first Palm Sunday.

As it turned out, Erick Erickson wrote on the subject today, so I’ll close with him.

Today is Palm Sunday, the day in which Christians remember Jesus’s final entry into Jerusalem. He entered as a king with people laying palm branches before him. Given the population of the day, it is very, very likely that many who hailed him as a king on Palm Sunday were yelling “crucify him” on Good Friday.

(…)

The moral laws of Christianity are not the laws you follow to get eternal life. They are the moral laws you follow out of love for Christ as you feel him transforming you. As you become more Christ like through the regeneration he sparks in you, you want to be more like Christ. You become more Christlike over time, but you know if you fail you are forgiven. If you fall short, you have grace. Your sin fights back against the regeneration but the regeneration continues.

Two thousand years ago today, Christ Jesus entered Jerusalem a conquering king. But he promised no revolution of strength. He said the strong would be weak and the weak would be strong. He upended the secular paradigms and, for that, the world killed him.

Erick Erickson, “Hail the King. Kill Him.” March 28, 2021.

You may have had a bad week at some point, but just bear in mind that our Lord made flesh knew how his week would end yet still went through with it. This is a good piece because it’s yet another reminder that God has this.

The local impact races

Longtime readers of monoblogue may recall that, for years, one of the goals my cohorts and I on the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee had was to change our county’s school board from all-appointed to all-elected. (Over the years I had a lot to say about the subject, such as this appeal to the public and this one to opponents.) And there were extremely good reasons for this.

At the time, Wicomico County was one of just a few counties in Maryland still relying on the appointment system, which was a convoluted process for us on those occasions where we had some input: because it was dictated that the party in the governor’s office would have four of the seven WCBOE seats and since turnover was so slow (as members served five-year terms) there were just a few years where we had the task while our friends on the Democrat Central Committee had the other years.

In order to facilitate the process when it was a Republican’s turn, the WCRCC would first find out if the board member could be re-appointed (since they were eligible to serve two terms, and often did – which was one reason turnover was slow.) I think there was only one time where we sought to appoint a non-incumbent in place of someone who could have been re-appointed, but assuming a new person was needed we would screen several applicants and send a name or two to the Secretary of Appointments – who would generally laugh and select the person our local elected officials in the General Assembly preferred (a person who didn’t necessarily go through our process.) It got to the point where the Democrats were demanding they get to interview “our” appointments because they were the ones who made the selection (at the time, Maryland was saddled with Martin O’Malley and his hand-picked Secretary of Appointments.) For all we know they did since it often wasn’t the person we chose who got appointed.

Of course, being in charge for many years meant the Democrats liked the process so they were the ones who resisted the change since it needed enabling legislation in the General Assembly. We had three giant roadblocks for the first eight years I was on the CC: Rick Pollitt (who was County Executive), and Delegates Rudy Cane and Norm Conway. Once all three of them were eliminated in the 2014 election, the process to finally getting an elected school board went very quickly and, despite a last-ditch effort by local Democrats to install a “hybrid” board of five elected and two appointees, the majority of voters in 2016 demanded an all-elected school board. (To his credit, our then-State Senator, Democrat Jim Mathias, was generally – if not necessarily completely – supportive to our efforts.)

Now I’m not going to lie to you and say the school board elections have turned out as I would have hoped, but the accountability is there and the system seems to work well – it was tested early with the sad passing of David Goslee, Sr., who was one of the loudest proponents of an elected school board (as a fellow member of the WCRCC) and barely (as in by ONE vote out of over 6,000 cast) won his seat in the first election – only to die in office shortly afterward. Interestingly enough, including Goslee, three of my former mates on the WCRCC were elected in the first school board balloting in 2018.

All that is a 500-plus word prologue to my main point: here in Delaware, they have long won the fight we waged for a decade or more in Wicomico, electing school boards for years. With that in mind, this May my district in Laurel has one of just two elections in the state where four participants are chasing one (open, since the incumbent chose not to seek re-election) seat. (The other one is in the Brandywine school district, which is much larger population-wise being on the northern outskirts of Wilmington hard by the PA line but has sub-districts. Ours is an at-large seat.) Out of 15 districts in Delaware having elections (a total of 20 elections, including sub-districts) there are just the two elections with four candidates, three with three, eight with two, and seven where just one person filed.

The one thing that I don’t like about Delaware’s system, though, is that it’s rather activist-proof: our five-member board only turns over one person at a time, so it would take three years for a correctly-minded majority to hold sway. Moreover, to make the most rapid reform, you have to win three elections in a row, which eliminates the element of surprise to opponents such as the teachers’ union. A gang election like Wicomico’s can be ambushed rather easily, but this can’t.

Since I voted over the summer in the 2020 rendition (which had three candidates, including the incumbent who lost) I also know this is a non-partisan election like Wicomico County’s school board election is.

My insider friend gave me the skinny on some of these candidates, and I’ve gleaned a little more from briefly scoping out social media.

The first to file was David B. Nichols. And I said to myself, “that name sounds familiar.” Reason being: a D. Brent Nichols ran last year and was the sole incumbent in the entire state to lose. After two terms, apparently voters had had enough but it seems he doesn’t agree – so he’s going to try and fool the voters into voting for new blood? (Honestly, I thought maybe this was his son or something.)

Next in line was Diane M. Snow, who my insider posited was a “come here” based on the phone number provided. It was another name that sounded vaguely familiar, and what stuck out at me in looking her up was her strong support for U.S. Senate candidate Lauren Witzke (presuming it’s the same person, of course.) If so, that is intriguing: I wonder how that translates into school-related issues?

Third is Ivy Bonk, who I was told was a former principal at a local Christian school, so that lends interest, too. I looked her up on LinkedIn and indeed, there is an Ivy Bonk fitting that description so I guess that’s her.

Last is Joseph Deiter, who my source didn’t know well enough to comment on. But a person with that name is on social media and it looks like he’s active as a youth coach.

I think what I’m looking for is a person who will carry a discussion of what public schools really should be. They should be strongly in favor of school choice and money following the child, even if it hurts the local school district in the short-term until they improve enough to compete with private schools and homeschooling. It wouldn’t bother me in the least if they were on the losing end of a lot of 4-1 votes this year so long as they are on the winning end of 3-2 votes two years hence – in other words, they have to be the tip of the spear.

And if that wasn’t enough, the town of Laurel has its own elections on March 25. (I don’t live within town limits, though, so I’m just an observer.) One interesting quirk about its election is that they have a separate registration, which is something they plan on addressing going forward. (In the meantime, anyone who lives in Laurel has until this Thursday to be registered.) Initially four positions were up for grabs, but since two of them only had one filing those lucky souls (both incumbents, by the way) win by acclamation. There is one Council seat (which appears to be an open seat with no incumbent) and the Mayor’s office, where the incumbent mayor has a challenger, still in contention so the whole town gets to vote. Let’s hope they do.

Misdirection

Once again, I will caution readers that the reason I never had a big desire to run for high political office was that I hate asking strangers for money. But I was alerted to an investigation into the financial windfall a company servicing GOP Congressional candidate Kim Klacik received.

Granted, this investigation was done by the Washington Post, and they’re not going to shine a favorable light on any Republican, especially an overtly Trump-supporting minority GOP member like Klacik. But I’ll play along because it leads to another point.

As you may recall from last summer, Klacik became the “it girl” among Republican House candidates thanks to a viral ad she had shot on location in the slums of Baltimore, blaming the decades of Democrat leadership for the decrepit and hopeless conditions. It was a turn of Donald Trump’s “what the hell do you have to lose?” question to black voters, which make up the majority in Klacik’s district thanks to much of it being in Baltimore City.

Yet according to the Post:

By the end of Klacik’s campaign, she would raise a staggering $8.3 million and pay nearly $3.7 million of it to Olympic Media, according to campaign finance filings and her campaign manager. Klacik, now a frequent Fox News and Newsmax commentator, lost to Mfume in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District by more than 40 percentage points.

“Donors gave a House candidate more than $8 million. A single firm took nearly half of it.” Meagan Flynn and Michael Scherer, Washington Post, March 2, 2021.

The fact that she raised $8.3 million for the race based on a viral ad may be scary enough, but then considering nearly half of it went to a consultant made it worse. This reaches back to a subject for which I sometimes kick myself for not devoting more pages to it in The Rise and Fall of the TEA Party and that is the effect of scam PACs, particularly in the later years of the movement. This comes from the chapter of my book called “The TEA Party Is Dead”:

The incessant fundraising off TEA Party regulars, who skewed heavily toward those 60 and over and who had the disposable income to use for political causes, made consultants – a group of characters who often countered that doing mass e-mail appeals wasn’t as cheap as those on the outside of the business thought – fabulously wealthy for next to no effort, while achieving little to assist actual candidates who could have used the funds if they were given directly. Oftentimes less than 10% of the money raised by a PAC would go toward candidates, with much larger amounts used to pay for more fundraising.

The Rise and Fall of the TEA Party, p.129.

I gave the subject about a page and a half, but in retrospect it probably deserved at least twice as much. This is particularly true because Klacik, as revealed in the Post story, is another failed candidate who has began a PAC of her own, called the Red Renaissance PAC. (Just like Lauren Witzke here in Delaware.) So she will be yet another grifter taking her cut instead of moving the money where it belongs, and I think that greed is what stunted the growth of the TEA Party. Imagine if that scam PAC money had instead assisted local candidates, who may have won races they lost had they had the additional funding that instead found its way into some consultant’s bank account. Instead of paying for 100 yard signs, donors to scam PACs paid for Mr. Consultant’s yard work to be done.

There was another reason this came to mind: many Delaware school districts have at least one seat on their board of education coming up for election this spring. In my little school district, the one open seat has attracted four candidates as the incumbent decided to forgo another term. What do you think a couple dozen people of like mind donating $100 apiece could do to a candidate in a race like this where winners seldom spend more than a few thousand dollars as opposed to a Congressional election where that group of 24 is outspent by some corporate PAC that donates the maximum?

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: if you want to donate to a candidate, skip the middleman of a PAC and send it directly. (Or, even better, be a volunteer for them.) It will do the most good for the people who really need it.

Becoming the loyal opposition

As the days of the Trump administration dwindle down to a precious few and the world is attempting to hoist him up on the petard of (so-called) insurrection, it’s clear that there are over 70 million Americans who are angry with the situation.

But let’s dispense with a few things first: the claims that Trump will return for another term after he declares martial law then drains the Swamp with thousands of arrests – ain’t gonna happen. Even if he uses the military, the size and scope of the necessary operation is such that SOMEONE would have leaked it out by now.

And it’s not just that: Trump doesn’t figure in the line of succession, even if you arrested Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Nancy Pelosi. It’s the same logic that said Hillary would be president if Trump was impeached and convicted. There’s just no Constitutional precedent for this – even in the midst of a civil war we held a Presidential election in 1864. We’ll never know, but would Abraham Lincoln have ceded power in March of 1865 had he lost?

There were originally going to be three main points to this post, but two of them have been taken care of in a different fashion. I liked Erick Erickson’s take on all the fake news that I alluded to above, so I encourage you to read it via The Patriot Post. My other writing home is also where the second part of this discourse ended up, regarding the fate of the Republican Party going forward. One key point:

Donald Trump was the candidate whose boldness on hot-button issues such as immigration and tax reform brought back those who became disillusioned when the Tea Party devolved to just another group of inside-the-Beltway grifters, and the Republican establishment cooled the fiery spirits of those the Tea Party helped to place in Congress.

“The Road Ahead for the GOP,” The Patriot Post, January 15, 2021

This was one of the longest pieces I’ve ever written for them because it’s a subject I am passionate about.

But in the wake of the purloined Presidential election and the catastrophe at the Capitol, people are probably shrugging their shoulders and resigning themselves to the end of our Republic, keeping their anger and passion inside to eat at them. Now I don’t have the overall surefire way to make you feel better, but perhaps it’s time to revisit what happened the last time we were in this situation.

Granted, the political landscape in 2021 is not really the same chessboard we were looking at in the dark winter of 2009. Back then we didn’t have the pervasiveness of social media to squelch the voices of conservatives nor did we have the upstream economic swimming made necessary by the ongoing CCP virus. (Of course, that will improve soon as Democrat governors finally decide that maybe, just maybe, they need to open up their state economies.) And that’s okay because perhaps this time we need to shift the focus to a smaller stage rather than try and play in a arena we’re not as familiar with. Complaining about federal spending and what would become Obamacare only delayed the inevitable twelve years ago because Tip O’Neill was right: all politics is local.

To that end, there is a trinity of issues which can be positively influenced at the local level in the near term, and in my opinion these are places the passion for Donald Trump can be well applied (or at least I think he would approve.) In at least one respect – the one I’m going to begin with – it’s not even necessarily political.

Support local small businesses.

This can be a lot easier said than done, particularly if you live in a rural area like I do. I have to admit we get a LOT of Amazon and Walmart boxes delivered to us, and the UPS truck is a regular sight around this area. On the flip side, though, we have a lot of small businesses that we can support in our town, particularly the restaurants. (I have my local favorite, and you should too. Patronize them often and leave good tips.)

The thing that is holding back businesses the most are the pandemic-inspired restrictions. I’m sure my local pizzeria would love to be able to open up all their seating despite their solid carry-out business. Initial mandates that favored big-box retailers as “essential” when their smaller counterparts – which often sold the same merchandise – were shut down led to the loss of millions of jobs and the perceived need to send out stimulus checks that are simply the gateway drug to the cherished regressive dream of a universal basic income. (Or, as Dire Straits once sang, Money for Nothing. I suppose it’s good the government hasn’t tried the chicks for free yet, because I could only imagine that disaster.)

I think if you asked the business owner who had to shut down whether they’d prefer the check or the business, 99% would be back in business. Seeing that the ice is beginning to break with some of these Democrats, perhaps it’s time to apply more pressure to Governor Carnage to end this so-called emergency and let businesses try to pick up the pieces.

Action items:

  • Patronize local, small businesses wherever possible.
  • Pressure local legislators and officials to advocate for the opening up of your state’s businesses as applicable. (Obviously people reading this from certain states can skip this part.)
  • If a business decides to go against a state’s forced closing mandate – don’t be a Karen, be a customer.
  • And it’s not just businesses: having open schools and resuming their activities would be a great help to employment as well. It brings me to my next part.

Reforming our schools.

One thing I loved about the Trump administration was the fresh perspective he brought to the Department of Education with Betsy DeVos. Unfortunately, her tenure was cut a bit short because she bought the media narrative about the January 6 protest, but her time at the DoE was the next best thing to it not being there.

Sadly, under Harris/Biden there will likely be some other NEA-approved hack running that show and undoing all the good DeVos did, so we need to do what we can to re-establish local control of our public schools as much as possible and push the envelope where required. If that can’t be done, then it’s time to support the alternatives such as homeschooling or non-public schools.

Of course, the best way to guide public schools is to become a member of their school board, but not everyone has that sort of time commitment nor do they want to go through the anal exam known as an election. (Furthermore, in the case of my local school district, reform would be slow: they elect one member of the five-member body every year, meaning it would take at least three years to install a like-thinking majority.) But it is a good idea to know about your local school board and see who the friendlies to the cause are. (If they have a BLM banner, it’s not too likely they’re conservative.) The ideal here is to revamp curriculum to bring it back to classical education as opposed to indoctrination, encouraging a variety of viewpoints and critical thinking. Public school students don’t have to be mindless robots; after all, I’m a case in point since I went to public school and a public university. I think I turned out okay.

On a state level, there are two priorities and this means you have to make some enemies in the teachers’ union: school choice and (corollary to that) money following the child. It’s your child and the state should be doing its level best to assist you in training up the child in the way he should go.

Action items:

  • Demand schools open up fully. The lack of in-person learning and activities has cost students a year of development.
  • Research your local school board and its candidates, even if you don’t have kids there. They are taking a lot of your tax money so you should be aware how it’s spent.
  • Advocate with your state legislators for school choice and money following the child.

And now for the biggie, the one which should be job one among all right-thinking Americans:

Restoring free and fair elections.

I’m going to begin with a quote. You may be surprised at the source.

Voting by mail is now common enough and problematic enough that election experts say there have been multiple elections in which no one can say with confidence which candidate was the deserved winner. The list includes the 2000 presidential election, in which problems with absentee ballots in Florida were a little-noticed footnote to other issues.

In the last presidential election, 35.5 million voters requested absentee ballots, but only 27.9 million absentee votes were counted, according to a study by Charles Stewart III, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He calculated that 3.9 million ballots requested by voters never reached them; that another 2.9 million ballots received by voters did not make it back to election officials; and that election officials rejected 800,000 ballots. That suggests an overall failure rate of as much as 21 percent.

“Error and Fraud at Issue as Absentee Balloting Rises,” Adam Liptak, New York Times, October 6, 2012.

It’s funny because that story concludes, “You could steal some absentee ballots or stuff a ballot box or bribe an election administrator or fiddle with an electronic voting machine,” (Yale law professor Heather Gerken) said. That explains, she said, “why all the evidence of stolen elections involves absentee ballots and the like.”

It didn’t get any better in 2020, as hastily-passed (or decreed) election law led to the chaotic scenes we saw played out in several big-city vote counting venues. Combine that with the molasses-like pace of mail sent through the USPS – I received a Christmas card sent by a friend in Kansas December 18 on January 4 – and we got an election result that millions are skeptical about.

I know there are some who swear these practices are on the up and up, but this is the question we should be asking these officials: If you support election practices we can’t trust, how can you be a public servant we can trust?

At a minimum, we should be demanding that changes made for the 2020 election should be scrapped entirely. This was no way to run an election, and it will always be fishy how Donald Trump (and a host of other Republicans) led in their election in certain states until the wee hours of Wednesday morning before suddenly being overtaken in a barrage of votes for Democrats. I will give kudos to the election officials here in Delaware who demanded all mail-in ballots be delivered by 8 p.m. on election night because the counting was pretty much done by the late local news.

I don’t care if you call it the TEA Party again – with the acronym now standing for Trump’s Election Avengers – but here are the action items, as the beginning of a list of demands for real election reform:

  1. The voter rolls should be purged of inactive voters (no voting in the last four years) and those who use fake addresses such as P.O. boxes. Big-city election boards should be made to use some of their ill-gotten largess to investigate these places.
  2. Absentee balloting should no longer be shall-issue. There has to be a legitimate excuse, although advanced age should remain a legitimate excuse. Deadline for absentee ballot return is Election Day, no postmark exceptions.
  3. Ballot-harvesting should be outlawed or curtailed to leave only family members allowed to return a limited number of ballots.
  4. Early voting should be eliminated, or at the very least cut back to the weekend just prior to the election.
  5. There should be more election observers, and not just Democrat and Republican. We should add two independent or minor party voters who are also allowed to observe and object.

This isn’t to say that we should ignore the excesses of the Harris/Biden administration and speak out when necessary. But in making these more easily attainable changes at the local level, we make it more difficult to enact change on a national scale.

If we want to make the necessary changes, we have to borrow the “think globally, act locally” mantra from the environmentalist wackos for a bit and ride out the next four years as the real shadow government. It’s only through us that a government for and by the people not perish from the earth.